DRAM prices in the Micron dumps – allegedly

Sounds like fighting talk

For years, Micron Technology , America's last significant memory maker, harried its Asian rivals with accusations of dumping stock below cost. It found a willing listener in the US government, which was happy to slap punitive tariffs on miscreants, real or imagined.

Lately, Micron has been quiet with the accusations. Maybe, Korean, Taiwanese and Japanese memory makers are all behaving themselves. Or could it be the arch villain on the dumping scene is now...Micron?

"It's become almost an annual event," Asiabiztech wrote yesterday, "that the prices are dampened in late February, when Micron Technology Inc. of the United States dumps DRAMs in the market, facing the end of its fiscal term.

"Additionally, some other makers have jumped ahead of Micron in slashing prices this year, accelerating the decline in prices," the publication says.

No ifs, no buts, simply the bald statement that Micron "dumps DRAMs". Sounds like fighting talk to us.

There is however, some evidence to support Asiabiztech's claim - from Micron itself. Speaking this week at the Robertson Stephens technology conference in San Francisco, Micron veep Kipp Beddard said the company was selling "than 10 per cent of its DRAM memory into the spot market for memory chips right now," Reuters reports.

Also, Micron has around a quarter's inventory of unsold chips, according to a Merrill Lynch analyst interviewed by the newswire.

But the company has "no plans to offer incentive or discount programs to boost sales," according to the Reuters piece. So what's the spot market for, then?

Micron today said it had completed the deal to buy out Japanese JV partner, KMT Semiconductor, first aounnced in October last year. ®

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